Mike Salisbury (Ward 4) – Candidate Questionnaire

Mike Salisbury loved being city councillor so much that even though he lost his seat to now-mayoral candidate Cam Guthrie in the 2010 municipal election, he’s rolling the dice again in the open field of the Ward 4 race.

Mike Salisbury lives and works in ward 4 and has extensive business development, financial management and project planning experience across a broad range of business and not-for-profit endeavours that he brings to City Hall. (You also might have seen him on CBC’s Dragon’s Den a couple of years ago with a decomposable casket.) In a ward without an incumbent, Salisbury might have the experience for the job Ward 4-ians might be looking for.

1) Why did you decide to run for city council?

No other professional role has given me the satisfaction I enjoyed from being of service to my community as being a City Councillor in Guelph. I’m running because we need people in elected office with common sense, humility, integrity, and selflessness to help make the decisions at City Hall. Above all we need strong leadership and cooperation to help make our neighbourhoods, our communities and our city the greatest place to live work and play in all of Canada.

My business experience, professional skills and personal abilities are exactly what we need on council to address the issues we will face over the next four years.

2) What makes your ward unique to Guelph?

Emerging commercial node with a growing number of services and shops
Great mix of cultures and backgrounds.
Strong neighborhoods

3) Using a letter grade, how would you rank the performance of the current city council? Explain.

C: middle of the road.

4) Some people say that Guelph is over-taxed, others believe that our taxes are inline with a community our size; where do you stand on taxation in Guelph?
I don’t think it’s a question of taxation but fiscal management – in other words, are we getting value for what we pay?

Guelph is unique and different from all other cities – there are many other communities (with both lower and higher taxes) I wouldn’t even consider living in let alone raising a family in or starting a business in. Guelph has a top notch quality of life and the taxes we pay helps to create an environment that attracts families, professionals and businesses to Guelph. We need to manage and properly invest the taxes we pay in order to maximise this effectiveness.

It’s not just about maintaining the status quo of essential services but building a community as well. Taxes are only part of the picture, an important issue but not the only one.

5) Do you believe that Guelph has a spending problem? If yes, then please cite specific examples of areas and/or programs that you would cut to save money?

Over the last term of council I have noticed the investments in the public realm slowing and becoming more business minded such as seeking private sector support before implementation. This is very important and so is ensuring we are investing in aspects that improve our community prosperity and quality of life such as, the Hanlon Creek Business Park, Market Square, but also attracting a new downtown campus and the associated public real improvements that could benefit the entire City. During my canvassing I have heard repeated calls for ward specific investment not necessarily focused on the downtown core.

6) What’s the biggest priority for Guelph in terms of services needed? This could be something that’s provided by the government, ie: a library or rec centre, or it could be a commercial need, ie: a new grocery store in the east end.

The west end of Guelph needs experienced and LOCAL representation in order to ensure that services for Ward 4 do not fall behind the rest of the City. There are several long overdue deficiencies that need to be addresses in Ward 4:

Improved commercial development in west end. Costco is a good start but small store retail continues to lag behind due to decades old impasse between the City and the developer. This impasse is also preventing the completion of the intersection in front of Costco creating a traffic nightmare.

Bike Lanes along School Routes. During my last term I successfully fought to get sidewalks extended along Paisley Rd to connect the west end with the rest of the city. Paisley Rd is one of the busiest school routes for GCVI High Hchool kids attending from Ward 4. While we are implementing bike lanes throughout the rest of the city what about our primary school route? The asphalt surface is probably the worst in the west end and the Silvercreek & Paisley underpass is soon coming so this is a very timely topic.

Expansion of Side-walks and the Trail Networks. There are two important aspects of the Trail Master Plan that need to be implemented to make trails a viable and effective option for transportation in the west end. Upgrades to the dangerous (and deadly) pedestrian connection across the railway tracks to Margaret Green Park. This rail crossing is used by thousands of kids each year despite the fact that it is an unofficial and illegal crossing. Only a few years ago one of our neighbours was tragically killed crossing into Margaret Green Park at this point – how many more need to die before City Hall makes this a priority?

Across our Ward there continue to be heavily travelled sidewalks that mysteriously end creating inaccessible goat paths throughout the west end. We need complete and accessible pedestrian routes particularly for our children and seniors.

7) How would you propose to mend relations between the city and transit workers, and to improve the services of Guelph Transit?

Reverse the trend of hiring “outside experts” and begin to engage front line staff in key corporate decisions – This is not just a transit issue but pervades the entire organisation.

8) What will you do to insure the best possible communication between yourself and your constituents if you’re elected to council?

Above all, being a successful representative requires effective communication.

I will maintain two-way and open communication through all available social media tools including web, Facebook and Twitter.
I will hold regular in person town hall meetings within the ward (as well as special meetings as required) Hopefully residents will not wake up to a 10 story building being built in their backyards without notice ever again.
Most importantly – I will say what I mean and mean what I say. I will be direct and honest; and not dance around the issue or play games.

9) Guelph is implementing online voting for the first time with this election, are you in favour of this development or against it? Explain.

I am in favour of internet voting and see it as the logical way of the future however I am concerned with the security implications particularly given the now-proven capacity for acts of election fraud involving computers in our community:

Susan Watsons well researched description of the Michal Sona’s fraud trial –

The Guelph Mercury investigative report exposing fraudulent misrepresentation by current council members and mayoral candidates –

10) What issue, aside from any previously mentioned in this questionnaire, do you think should be a priority and why?

Public Consultation and Operational Transparency. It seems that almost every outreach from the City on just about any issue is followed up by a group of people who feel they were not given notice and call for greater transparency and public consultation.

Waste Management within Condominiums. The last two places I lived in Guelph have been condominiums. Waste collection for multi-residential units has a number of options and alternatives but no clear solution. Looking back we need to adapt our services to better serve the current housing stock and promote upgrades to better facilitate waste diversion for multi-residential properties. The go forward solution would be that we expand the development approval process to promote waste diversion in multi-residential properties and stop allowing multi-residential units to be approved without a clear and sustainable integration with municipal waste collection services. If we don’t do this we are only adding to the problem.

School Zone Speeds. Local speed reductions along Imperial Rd are so contentious that the issue has even garnered CTV television news coverage. We all agree that the top priority is to protect our children but are 30km school zones working? Is there a better way to ensure public safety? Traffic Safety And while we are talking about traffic, what about the ever increasing traffic volume and speeds along Elmira Rd? I spoke with a school crossing guard who is just terrified at the prospect of Costco opening and the certain increase in speed and volume along Elmira Rd where she helps the primary school kids cross the road.

Recreation for Youth and Seniors Whatever happened to all the planned improvements for Deerpath Park following the skate park removal (and for that matter what ever happened to plans to let our kids build a bicycle skills facility)

11) How can local government be a force for good in the lives of the people of Guelph?

If I didn’t see it as a force for good I wouldn’t be getting involved, in fact, I don’t see it in any other light other than being a force for good in the lives of people in Guelph. Perhaps the underlying question is how can local government become a force for BAD, and the answer is all around us – ego – miscommunication – misrepresentation of the facts … These are the very real forces of evil that exist in politics and they will poison our community.

I strongly encourage our readers to scrutinise the track record of the candidates. Have they been found guilty of any of these acts and if so, then don’t support them in the election.

12) Where can voters get more information about you and your campaign?


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